Friday, December 08, 2023

Media Notebook--12-8-23


A curation of news items about the media from this past week, with a particular emphasis on Chicago.




*Chicago Public Media CEO Steps Down

=Chicago Public Media announced this week that Matt Moog will step down as CEO. He’ll stay in the job until a successor is named. It was Moog who oversaw Chicago Public Media’s acquisition of the Sun Times.

*It’s not Your Imagination: Traffic Really Does Suck

=Barry Butler’s not just a radio exec and great photographer, he was with Shadow traffic back in the day…

*Operation: Santa Paws

=Tis the season for the Drive morning co-hosts Sherman & Tingle to raise money for the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago. This year was their 7th annual Operation: Santa Paws, and they raised over $19,000 in pet food, supplies, and cash.


*Top Rated Radio Formats in America

=You can learn quite a bit by taking a look at the national ratings of radio stations by format. Right now, it’s the following in order…

Newstalk, Adult-Contemporary, Country, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Sports, Urban adult contemporary, CHR, Hot AC, Contemporary Christian.

=What does this list tell me?  First and foremost it tells me the age of radio listeners. Four of the top five formats are dominated by older listeners.


*Audacy News

=America’s Largest Bank Expresses Low Confidence in Audacy. Needless to say, it is not good news when JPMorgan Chase steps down from its role as Audacy’s Letter of Credit and Swing Line Lender. As of September 30, Audacy reported having $57.38 million in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash, but they have $51 million payment coming due soon. Now that JPMorgan Chase has bailed, Wilmington Savings Fund Society has become Audacy’s new Administrative Agent and Collateral Agent.

= Management Shuffle at Audacy. Chicago Market Manager Rachel Williamson becomes President of Local Sales Strategy and Innovation. Kevin Cassidy will succeed her in leading Audacy’s Chicago cluster. He comes to Chicago from Audacy New Orleans.


*Rest in Peace

=Denny Laine

Just saw him in concert this year as part of the Rubber Soul tour. Interviewed him on WLS back in 2018. He told us the heartbreaking story of attending a Paul McCartney show in Chicago (actually Tinley Park), and asking to see his longtime bandmate backstage, only to be denied. I hope they made up before Denny’s passing. (L-R: Mark Hudson, Dave Stern, Denny Laine, Neil Innis, Rick)



*Another Billboard Surprise

=First it was the Beatles returning to the top of the charts (“Now and Then”). Next it was Dolly Parton with her rock album. Now, would you believe it’s Brenda Lee? Her first hit since 1960, the eternally popular “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is #1.

*Podcast Corner

=Apple Podcasts names Julia Louis Dreyfuss podcast “Wiser Than Me” its 2023 Show of the Year. But, the top rated Apple podcast of the year is Crime Junkie

=Spotify’s top rated podcast of the year is Joe Rogan’s show

=The New York Times top ten podcast list contains zero podcasts I’ve heard, so maybe there’s a few good leads here. And maybe not. 

=The top podcast on Time Magazine’s list is the haunting The Retrievals, but my current obsession (McCartney: A life in Lyrics) is also in their top ten. 


*Spotify in the news

=Weird Al’s joke on Spotify about Spotify

=Spotify laying off 17% of work force


*The Loop Files

=I’ve been doing a ton of interviews about this book. This one was fun. The host (Scott Miller) surprised me by getting audio endorsements of the book from Jonathon Brandmeier, Buzz Kilman, Garry Meier, Bob Stroud and Matt Bisbee

=Two more signings coming up before Christmas. This is the first one…



*December 3—Mark Bazer birthday

=Mark wrote for the Trib and hosts The Interview Show for WTTW.


*December 4, 1971

=A fire inspires only song every guitarist (even me) can play

*December 5, 1933

=A headline celebrated around Chicagoland… 


*December 6—Noreen Heron birthday

=A titan in local Chicago PR. CEO and founder of Heron Agency.


*December 7—Joe Callahan Jr. birthday.  

=Joe is formerly part of the Kevin Matthews show, and an administrator of several Facebook groups including Chicago Rocks, Steve & Garry Fan Group, and Brandmeier Nation.


*December 7—Carole Simpson birthday.

=Carole got her start in Chicago radio on WCFL and WBBM. She later became an esteemed television newscaster. She was the first African American woman to anchor a major network newscast (NBC), and the first woman of color to moderate a presidential debate (1992-Bush/Clinton/Perot).  She wrote a book about her career called Newslady. 


*December 8, 1980

=John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman. This is how most of America heard the news...

*December 8—Sam Kinison birthday.

=It’s hard to believe that Sam has been gone for 30 years now. I previously wrote about my personal brush with the legendary comedian. It was a memorable one.


*December 8—Al Fleishman birthday. 

=Al teams up with former radio producer Mick Kahler to do parodies that are often featured on the WGN-TV morning show


*December 9—Jim Kerr birthday. 

=Jim is in the National Radio Hall of Fame, mostly for his impressive career in New York, but as a young man he also worked in Chicago radio for a time at WDAI and WLS.


*December 9—Harold Lee Rush birthday

=Unfortunately Harold passed away last year. He was a part of WGCI’s heyday. Robert Feder talked to him about those days back in 2020.


*December 9—Scott Childers birthday.

=Scott has worked at virtually every station in Chicago and the suburbs in various different capacities (traffic anchor, air personality, program director and engineer.) I interviewed Scott for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2008. He’s also the keeper of the WLS History website, which is truly incredible. In that role Scott was very helpful to me while I was working with John Landecker on Landecker’s memoir Records Truly Is My Middle Name.





*Channel 5 New Years Eve Show

=Airing Sunday, December 31 beginning at 11:00 PM CT on NBC 5 ChicagoA Very Chicago New Year will feature an all-star lineup of hosts including Chicago Smashing Pumpkins founder Billy Corgan and his wife, fashion designer Chloe Mendel in Highland Park, Chicago Today hosts Matt Rodrigues & Cortney Hall in Bridgeport and NBC 5 News anchor Evrod Cassimy and Country Music Television host/Chicago-area native Marley Sherwood in downtown Chicago.


*Rest in Peace

=Norman Lear

Probably the greatest television producer of all time. He was 101 years old. Me-TV is paying tribute to Norman on Sunday night beginning at 5pm, playing the Christmas episodes of his shows “All in the Family”, “Good Times”, and “Sanford & Son” along with the 200th episode of “All in the Family”.

=Robert Precht

He was the producer of the Ed Sullivan Show and oversaw the appearances of the Beatles. Precht was 93. 


*The Critics Choice Award Nominations

=The streaming shows are dominating, including The Crown, The Morning Show, The Diplomat, Star Trek, Ted Lasso, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Succession. Full list is here.


*The Kennedy Center Honorees

=This year the honorees include Billy Crystal, Queen Latifah, Barry Gibb, and Dionne Warwick. The event took place on Sunday night, and airs on CBS on December 27th.


*Tucker Carlson Producer Accused of Harassing Fellow Fox Employee

=Pretty strong charges. This allegedly happened while both still worked for Fox. 




*Time Magazine’s Person of the Year: Taylor Swift

=She certainly is the most popular person in the country in 2023. 


*Washington Post Workers Go on Strike

=It was a 24-hour strike to make a point, and it was yesterday. They released this letter to explain what they were doing and to ask for reader support. 


*Layoffs hit major publications

=This piece talks about the Christmas layoffs at places like the New Yorker (including satirist Andy Borowitz) and the Washington Post, among others. 


*Murdochs Settle Yet Another Lawsuit

=This one is in England and is part of the Murdoch-owned tabloid practice of hacking phones of celebrities and political officials. 


*Trump goes after Drudge

=For decades the Drudge Report was the go-to site for conservatives because Matt Drudge curated the news in a way that promoted conservatives and highlighted liberal wrongdoing. But when he spoke out against Trump, the former president went after him. 



*Meta faces multi-million Euro lawsuit in Spain

=The claim is that Meta broke Spain’s data protection laws. ABC-News has more on the story 


*Misinformation Expert Says She Was Fired from Harvard for Investigating Meta

=She alleges this happened because Mark Zuckerberg was in talks with the university over a potential $500 million donation. Harvard denies it. 

As always, if you have any media story you’d like to share or think that I might be interested in sharing, drop me a line at or If you're in Chicago media and wondering why I didn't mention your birthday, it's probably because I don't know it. Drop me a line and let me know and I'll put you on my calendar.


If you're interested in some of my other projects...


Minutia Men Podcast: Get Off of My Lawn

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Podcast: Best Selling Author Meg Kissinger

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: Point Deduction

The Fifth Edition (2023) of EveryCubEver is out now!  Buy your copy today

The Fifth Edition (2023) of EveryCubEver is also on amazon. Buy your copy today.

My latest novel: Back in the D.D.R

Windy City Reviews Back in the D.D.R.

Podcast Interview about Back in the D.D.RMilitary Family Museum Podcast 

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Review for The Loop Files

 This one on Facebook blew me away...

Rarely will you ever see a post from me telling you to buy a book other than the books my company publishes, But If you grew up listening to radio in Chicago between 1977 and 1998, you are undoubtedly already aware of The Loop FM 98.
It was unlike any other experience in radio. Not just the music that was played but the voices that accompanied and championed that music. As the years passed, The Loop transformed itself from a Rock music powerhouse to a Talk/Comedy and Sports powerhouse that saw more success with each format tweak across two separate AM & FM stations.
Rick Kaempfer's The Loop Files (Eckhartz Press-350 pgs.-2023) covers those groundbreaking years with an intimate style. Ditching the worn-out approach that other books covering similar subject matter have taken, Kaempfer lays out the relevant twenty-year history of the radio station, its on-air staff, and the behind-the-scenes personnel (who, more often than not, were just as responsible for the success of both versions of The Loop) in a deft and personal way that places us, the former listener, in some rarified-air where we can re-live those radio experiences again with some considerable back-story.
Layed out in first person, told by the guys and gals who were there, the book is an immediate time capsule of what happened during those years, and no punches are pulled. It is exactly what we wanted, and because Rick Kaempfer is a former Jock and producer at The Loop, his access to those that worked in front of the mic, or way behind it in a tape-filled, cramped postage-stamped sized office, is unprecedented.
The Loop Files is the elegy all die-hard Loop FM 98 fans deserve and have been waiting for since 2018, when the station was practically given away during owner Cumulus Radio's bankruptcy. The truth is, the absolute heyday of The Loop happened during the years Rick Kaempfer documents in this book, and he does a tremendous job of letting his interview subjects tell that story in full. It reads as a labor of love written by a listener who became an employee and now wants to share that knowledge with anyone who ever was entertained by listening to The Loop.
I was, as was a common moniker back then, a "Loyal Looper" from 1979 until 1996 or so. The Loop Files jogged many memories for me, not just about the on-air/off-air happenings at my favorite radio station but about things that were happening in my personal life at the time. I made crank calls to Steve & Garry in 1986 (which I recorded), delivered produce "live" on the air to Kevin Matthews in 1990, and made the arduous trek down to Navy Pier to visit The Loop store to buy hats and shirts. The Loop was a social network way before "social network" was a phrase. Rick Kaempfer's The Loop Files, brought all of those wonderful memories back and supplemented them with new insight into the radio station that rocked Chicago!
May be an image of 6 people and text that says 'history of An oral the most radio station outrageous ever HLOOP FILES there 3H1 Rick laempfer MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE AVE'
All reactions:
Paul and 8 others